I visited London a few times. I think London is one of the best cities in the world. The chemistry between us has been great. It´s diverse, it´s multicultural, cool when you want it cool, classy when you want it classy, wicked when you are looking for such experiences. The old pubs with their ales & pies are a real delight! I have always felt welcomed here. All the Brits I met are genuinely fun and full of life.
But a few of my Romanian friends had a different experience.
The So-Called Mass Immigration of Romanians to the UK
This story begins some time ago, by the time it was decided that Romania will be a member of the European Union. 2007 brought Romania a new beginning, but also warnings about the massive immigration to the UK. But the newspapers lied, since Romanians preferred Spain and Italy.
At the beginning of this year something similar took place, when all work restrictions for Romanians and Bulgarians were lifted. The British media seized the opportunity, and created panic among the Brits. Here are a few titles that one could have read in the British media in the past months:
What Happened Actually
On the 1st of January 2014 media representatives and leaders of the pseudo-political-party called UKIP went to the airport to wait for 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians. I mean literally they did that.
But the unbelievable happened: only ONE Romanian came to the UK, out of the 24 million expected. ONE. Of course the reactions from the Romanian side weren’t delayed. The Ambassador of Romania to the UK soon responded with a tongue-in-cheek article on the Huffington Post: ‘Waiting for Godot’: Or, for Romanians to Come to the UK.
A few days later a Romanian newspaper, Gandul, had taken word by word from an article in the Daily Mail and found out that 60% of it was entirely false. That is, 60% of the characters used, so 2,300 characters, counted one by one, were FALSE. Here’s the article, in case you wonder – unfortunately in Romanian only (I am however convinced that Google Translate will work just fine): DAILY FAIL. Gândul demontează o campanie antiromânească a Daily Mail, cel mai puternic tabloid britanic: 60 la sută din articolul care anunţa invazia românilor ESTE FALS The Daily Fail responded that they have nothing to apologise for.
This is just sensationalism actually, and I think it is important to understand the meaning of this term: the media needs sales, and so it needs unbelievable stories, so that its public will buy them. Even when they are 60% NOT TRUE.
The media frenzy took place in other Western European countries too. In Norway – my second home since 2009 -, the Romanian thieves and beggars kept the media headlines for many years in a row. Yes, thieves and beggars exist, but for some reason Western Europe has gone so mad that they think Romanians are only beggars and thieves.
Just to be clear, I am talking here about the mass of the people and what is shown to us at surface. I know that not all Western Europeans take Romanians as beggars or thieves. Generally speaking, the younger people, with higher education, who have travelled abroad etc. are more open minded. There is also a part of the Wester population who wouldn’t even open such publications as Daily Mail & Co. They have other interesting stuff to discuss about Romania, such as in this example. But let’s move on with the story.
My Experience in Norway
And so my country helplessly assisted the circus created around it. Non-thief and non-beggar Romanians got angry, they felt discouraged, discriminated against, and they thought they could do nothing but hate the Daily Fail. Me, on the other hand, I realised something else: I have many reasons to thank the Daily Mail & Co. for all the hard work they have been doing, and the way they have influenced the image of people like me.
You see, I am 100% a normal person. A bit creative, a bit analytical, doing mistakes here and there. Average grades in high-school, realised life can’t go on like that, woke up from the pretty dream at university, and then started to study hard. I never excelled at school, except for the subjects I truly liked. In 2009 I was rewarded a study scholarship for Norway, at BI Norwegian Business School.
I remember the first months in Norway were a bit confusing, from the cultural point of view. When classmates were asking us where we were coming from, and heard the answer “Romania”, the first reaction from their side used to be “Oh…”, posting a puzzled face. This was a bit disturbing in the beginning: we were asking ourselves why in the world were we seen differently from the Germans, Hungarians, the English?
Time passed by, and some of them got to know us better. Soon we became special in their eyes, but this time in a good way: we had become the exceptions of their image of the Romanians. Then I understood that it was actually the Daily Mail & Co. that were creating us so. I got the idea that with creating a really, really bad image of Romania, Romanians, beggars, gypsies, thieves, the Daily Mail has made us so special, that even the fact that we could speak proper English was an astonishment for many. Therefore at the end of the day the foreigners said, with rapture of surprise, “Oh! You are so brilliant!” We even got the suggestion that we should be the future generation of Romanian politicians.
Overall, this was a great feeling. Even though, between you and me, we knew that it wasn’t true: we weren’t any exceptions, we were like many others unknown to the public. Not once I tried to answer back to these compliments saying… “You know, I am not so much of an exception… I have many friends who are the same as me, better even, or exceptional.” They wanted examples. The fact that Romanians can situate at an average level of normality was puzzling for them. They were constantly asking for evidence.
Well, it’s time for evidence. With no more extra paragraphs, this is my plan for this website: I will post here interviews with my friends and acquaintances, where I will present their life in a most-possible realistic way. They are, in my opinion, talented, interesting, funny, artsy, creative, analytical, political. Don’t expect PR-type articles. Instead, I will try to present the reality with its struggles and accomplishments. I will discuss their passions and dreams.
And so I would like to thank once again Daily Mail, Daily Express & Co. for their entire effort put into trashing my country: if it weren’t for you, the idea of this blog would have never existed.
I will call my interviewees “real-life fairies” and “real-life knights”: because you hear about them from people like me, and you believe they only live in fairytales. But they actually exist.
The first interview will be with a fairy, and it will be published on the 1st of March.